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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) COVID-19 Public Education Campaign is a national initiative to increase public confidence in and uptake of COVID-19 vaccines while reinforcing basic prevention measures. The Campaign also increases awareness about COVID treatments and heightens urgency to talk to a doctor at first sign of symptoms.
Through a nationwide network of trusted messengers and consistent, fact-based public health messaging, the Campaign helps the public make informed decisions about their health and COVID-19, including steps to protect themselves and their communities.
The effort is driven by communication science and provides tailored information for at-risk groups. The Campaign supports efforts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and others across HHS to use education to improve public health.
Communication products and initiatives are designed to help those in the Movable Middle—people who want to protect their health and have questions about vaccines—become more willing to consider vaccination and keeping up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine. Some Campaign products and initiatives help parents who are seeking information about vaccines or additional doses for their children. The We Can Do This Campaign aims to connect with Americans from all backgrounds. While the Campaign aims to build confidence in keeping up to date on COVID-19 vaccines, it also reinforces basic messages about prevention and treatment of COVID-19.
Science-based public education campaigns are proven to motivate behavior change. HHS has assembled a team to implement a COVID-19 Public Education Campaign informed by science, aligned with evidence-based best practices, and guided by agency peer review.
- Increase vaccine confidence and uptake for Americans to stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccine while reinforcing basic prevention measures.
- Connect the public with factual government information about COVID-19.
Overall Campaign strategy
HHS is using a comprehensive media campaign and collaboration with public health influencers to reach Americans through traditional, digital, and social media in culturally appropriate ways. HHS is also providing rapidly evolving messages based on the latest scientific information and research.
Messages are specially designed to reach diverse populations most likely to take action to protect their health and those disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
Research and evaluation
A robust and continuous cycle of research drives all Campaign activities.
- Research includes audience segmentation, daily monitoring of news stories and social media, secondary data scans, foundational and creative focus group discussions, creative testing surveys, and production of a weekly current events tracker.
- Additional outcome surveys and analysis, along with social listening, enable the Campaign to assess performance and impact in real time, allowing for adjustments that keep messages relevant and up to date in a rapidly changing environment.
Message and materials production
The Campaign uses products for paid and earned traditional, digital, and social media.
- Website integration with CDC.gov to provide up-to-date information on COVID-19 and connection to paid ads driving to the CDC website.
- Comprehensive vaccine confidence ads created for multiple platforms (radio, TV, social, digital, print, out-of-home).
- Culturally tailored, plain language materials to support partners’ outreach to their communities.
Paid and earned media
The Campaign uses both paid advertising and media interviews, presentations, radio/TV tours, and other public events to educate people about the importance of vaccination and basic prevention measures to help prevent COVID-19 and protect public health. The Campaign is designed to reach 90% of the American adult population at least once per quarter. On average, they would be reached at least 10 times.
The Campaign’s paid media activities focus on these strategies:
- Building Vaccine Confidence—Uses public education to build confidence about the COVID-19 vaccines so people are ready to get vaccinated and stay up to date on their COVID-19 vaccines when it is time.
- Protecting the Nation—Provides general audiences with answers to common questions about vaccine development, safety, and effectiveness.
Earned media outreach features trusted messengers, particularly local health care professionals, and influencers from multicultural and other communities hit hard by COVID-19 as well as experts from HHS agencies, the larger public health community, academia, and industry. They provide factual, timely information and steps people can take to protect themselves, their families, and their communities.
The Campaign uses widespread partnership networks that already exist within HHS and among HHS agencies.
Through our partners’ insights and trusted voices in their communities, we can support the needs of each of our target audiences—meeting them where they are and providing access to the resources they need.
The Campaign also collaborates with corporations, foundations, and not-for-profits that share a common mission of helping prevent COVID-19 and protecting public health.